For over 20 years now solar lights have continuously developed and improved to the point that local authorities and utilities now fit solar to back-up the electrical supply. High quality solar panels coupled with vastly improved cell technology has resolved in viable solar lighting that would have unheard of a few years ago. Whistle long sunny days are best for charging cells, today's solar panels can still charge even on cloudy days and put some reserve power into the cells. For the gardener that wants the latest technology to light or highlight the outdoor space solar lights are ideal. There is little installation, very pet and child safe, cost nothing to run and best of all create zero carbon footprint. Modern cells now last well over 2,000 charges before changing, they are highly dependable and cheap to replace when needed. The solar panels will last over 20 years.
Most garden solar lights use LED (light emitting diodes) which are much more energy efficient than normal bulbs. Life expectancy for LED is 10 to 15 years, much longer than normal bulbs.
The best way to layout solar lights is to make a map of the area marking in the shady spots and direction of sunlight. Pick the best sites for catching the most daylight and angle any ground lights towards the sun. Although cloudy days will still charge the cells avoid total shade if possible. In full sun light the cells will quickly recharge and give over 8 hours running at night. Solar wall lights save the time, trouble and expense of running electric cables inside the brickwork.
Source by Harry Urban
Lighting is just one of the many details to consider when you are involved with building a new home. But once you have decided upon the perfect floor plan for your family and somewhere what style of siding you will have, it is time to turn your attention toward interior details, including lighting. You have great flexibility is setting the mood or theme of your house when you lay out the plans for lighting.
Designer Christopher Lowell is well-known for stage lighting and has now expanded his scope to include home lighting. Christopher is able to explain lighting principles and techniques in a way that we can apply them to home lighting. The best time to think about home lighting is while you are in the planning stages. According to Lowell, it is the characteristics of the light itself that are important, not just the source of the light. What you are looking for is not just the kind of light fixture and what it looks like. Instead you should focus on the function of the light in creating the right mood for the area.
Light in a particular room can come from four categories of lighting: natural light, ceiling lights, up-lights, and mid-range lights. Natural light is the light that naturally enters the room through windows and skylights. Ceiling lights, of course, are the lights that are attached to the ceiling. Ceiling lights can be recessed or hanging. Up-lights are a type of spotlight that is aimed up and up-lights usually sit on the floor. Finally, mid-range lights are the lamps that light an area of the room.
Lighting that comes from up-lights are generally located in corners and require an outlet. Up-lights create a soft ambiance. Some common up-lights are small floodlights hidden behind tall plants.
As for ceiling lights, recessed lights are very common in living rooms, dens, entries, hallways, sitting areas in bedrooms and basements. These lights should not be the only source of light in the room. Also, too many ceiling lights distract from the room's overall appeal. Planning for recessed lights while the house is under construction cuts down on the need for electricians to do the wiring and installation later on.
The hanging ceiling light is sometimes the most popular type of home lighting. A ceiling light typically hangs in the middle of the room, but sometimes may be placed in a corner of the room. A dining room is the most likely place to locate a hanging light fixture.
Natural lights can either improve a room's warmth or cause too much glare. Thinking about where you place a window in a room while the home is being built can have a big impact on your enjoyment of a room. Helpful natural light can eliminate the need for excessive ceiling lighting or mid-range lights.
Lamps, or mid-range lighting, require electric outlets. New homes today provide more outlets per room than older homes. But it is still a good idea to check that there are enough outlets for lamps in each room, especially bedrooms.
For more information about lighting tips, visit [http://www.yahulighting.com]
Source by Dan Carrin
1) Recreation & Education : Eugene, also known as the Emerald City, is the second largest city in Oregon and it is popular for its natural beauty, recreational opportunities such as kayaking, rafting and bicycling, alternative lifestyles, arts, and political activism. The city was founded by Eugene Franklin Skinner in 1862 and only 10 years later the Legislative Assembly approved a bill establishing the University of Oregon. The University opened its doors in 1876 and has helped the city grow from its roots in timber and agriculture to the thriving city we know today.
2) Climate & Population : The climate in Eugene has similarities to a Mediterranean climate, making Eugene, Oregon, an attractive place to live with its mild winters and dry summers. Snowfall during winter is relatively rare and tend to melt quickly. The average annual temperature is 52.1 degrees Fahrenheit or 11.2 degrees Centigrade. Combined with the low population density of approximately 3,400 people per square mile it makes for a very comfortable place to live.
3) Job Market : Eugene has a diverse job market; the largest employers in the city are the Sacred Heart Medical Center and the University of Oregon, and Eugene made Fortune Small Business magazine's 2008 list of 100 best places to live and launch a small business in the United States. Other major industries include the manufacture of recreational vehicles, timber and other wood products. Many multinational corporations also had their beginnings in Eugene and these include Taco Time, Broderbund Software, Aldus Software and Nike.
4) Culture, Music, & Performing Arts : Cultural and musical events contribute to the lure of Eugene, Oregon as a destination, with major festivals such as:
* The Eugene Celebration – an annual party that covers three blocks in the downtown area.
* Oregon Festival of American Music – an eclectic two week summer festival put on by The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts.
* Oregon Bach Festival- Grammy winning music hosted by the University of Oregon.
Music lovers will also be drawn by the multitude of music organizations such as the Eugene Concert Choir, the Eugene Opera, the Eugene Ballet, the Northwest Christian University Community Choir, the Eugene Symphony, the Ballet Fantastique, the Eugene Youth Symphony, the Oregon Children's Choir, and the Oregon Mozart Players. And for the performing arts, there are several large venues, such as the Erb Memorial Union ballroom, the Beall Concert Hall, the John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts, and the Hult Center for the Performing Arts.
5) Real Estate : The Eugene, Oregon real estate market appears to be reliably stable compared to other cities and states. Home prices have indeed declined from 2008 to 2009 but only by 15 to 20 percent. The highest number of sales are found in the under $ 350,000 segment and prices appear to be stabilizing going into the year 2010. Contributing factors to support the stability of the market include affordability, with median prices now under $ 200,000 and low mortgage rates plus the recently extended government tax credits.
Source by Milan Cole
Many people I have spoken to in the past are under the wrong impression that having a survey on a boat is simply a fast-track method of getting insurance cover easily or simply having a “quick look round to see if she’s ok”. I can assure you that this is not only a bad attitude but a short cut to misery in the long run. Marine surveying is a complex business and there will probably be many facets of the survey that will seem a little strange to the potential boat purchaser. “Are all those questions really necessary…..do they really matter?” Hopefully, this article may shed some light on the what’s, why’s and wherefores when your potential buy is surveyed.
WHY DO I NEED A SURVEY?
The foremost reason is that before actually buying the boat of your choice it is best practice to get an independent evaluation of the craft from a competent and experienced third party. Clearly, with a second hand craft, all its flaws and defects can be readily pinpointed by a trained observer who has done dozens of similar craft and knows exactly, from a technical point of view how this boat is made, from what materials, its strengths and weaknesses and the exact location of all the potential trouble spots.
In addition to this, your surveyor will offer you advice and recommendations on any defects found, how to rectify them to enable the craft to remain safe and provide answers to many of the other questions that are part and parcel of the survey process. Some of these include accurate unbiased valuations, insurance advice, contractual advice, dealing with brokers, history of the vessel, builders, naval architects, related subjects such as osmosis repair, oil analysis, importation and quarantine regulations. The list goes on. Damage evaluations, commercial survey requirements, engine and mast inspections can all come under the surveyor’s umbrella. Many people who buy a boat without a professional survey often realize the eventual cost to them may be dozens of times greater than would have been the case if they had simply paid the surveyor’s fees in the beginning.
The eventual vessel condition report is a valuable legal document that is a prize addition to the ship’s papers and may well help greatly with future dealings with insurers, banks, financial institutions, customs officials and the like. It is as well to remember that a trained surveyor can spot the less obvious flaws that even the owners themselves are unaware of. It is not unusual for potential buyers to reap a good profit on the surveyor’s initial fee as the finished report can be used as a bargaining chip in the eventual price of the craft as the cost of repairing many faulty items can run into thousands of dollars. Another couple of extremely important points are that most major insurers will not insure a vessel unless an application form for insurance cover is accompanied by a current independent surveyor’s report. Secondly, an application for financing will almost certainly require the same document before finance will ever be considered.
WHAT IS THE RESULT OF A SURVEY?
After the initial inspection (which should take the best part of a day, including slipping times) the surveyor is able to find out the actual (not reported) condition and state of repair of a vessel, including its major systems, subsystems, equipment, machinery and gear on board. The surveyor will also have (if he has done his work well) access to many additional items of information on the background and actual history of the vessel. It is not unusual for a crane haul out driver to remark to a surveyor, for example, “I know this boat, I remember it was run up the reef in Mackay ten years ago” or some similar comment. Such information forms an important piece in the profile of the boat under inspection and the surveyor can then proceed further along those lines in his investigations of the craft under inspection.
The surveyor will normally (although not always) belong to an officially recognized Association or marine body and will be required under the terms of that body’s constitution, to act in accordance with that association’s ‘Code of Conduct’ and Practices. The benefits of that are multifold, the client will always have some recourse in case of a dispute or disagreement should it arise and the client will always have the combined advice of all Association members through the medium of his own surveyor. Here is a cross-section of the kind of information that a surveyor is likely to end up with at the end of a survey on the boat.
The type, make, model and manufacturer of the craft. The length, breadth, beam, draft, year of construction, materials used, construction method, equipment, gear and machinery installed. Rig type and configuration, electrical gear, navigation gear, electrical (low and high voltage systems) generators, water makers, freezers and in many cases a full inventory of gear and equipment that is remaining on board, including a list of additional items such as dinghies, outboards, fishing gear and extra sails and halyards. I might add at this point, that the value of all these items that may remain with the craft is often well and truly understated and often runs into many thousands of dollars, particularly electronic and navigation gear. This is the clear advantage of buying second hand, a new boat will often be as bare as Mother Hubbard’s cupboard unless extras are included in the purchase price.
Finally, all this information will be collated, sifted through and all relevant information will be put into the final report for the enlightenment of whomever is concerned, insurance companies, banks, lending institutions along with relevant remarks of actual condition, state of repair, ongoing requirements and suggestions, and if required an analysis and breakdown of the value of hull, machinery, sails, rig, additional gear and whether the vessel is considered to be both seaworthy and insurable. This report will then be properly typed up or written up and presented by the surveyor, properly bound, to the owner or faxed or emailed (only at the client’s request) to its required ultimate destination.
DIFFERENT CRAFT, DIFFERENT APPROACH
As multihulls, for example, are different beasts from other types of craft, it is essential to obtain the services of a surveyor who is familiar with the construction of multihulls. What makes multihulls different to survey? Primarily, the obvious fact is that multihulls have two or more hulls. It is critical that these hulls are strongly and safely joined by the bridge deck and the whole construction is of sufficient strength to prevent undue flexing, bending, cracking and failure of the bonding. Mast and rig loadings are much higher than monohulls and great care must be taken when inspecting mast bases, cross beam joint attachments, chain plates and all standing rigging. Craft that have been constructed from foam and balsa core should be extremely well sounded for potential delamination, especially on the deck. Finally, an often overlooked point, the trampoline. Failure of this can result in the potential loss of one or more crewmembers. The trampoline must be strong in fastenings, material and joins and must be condemned immediately if failure of any of the above are discovered.
The same applies for any other specialized craft. This surveyor will, amongst other things, be capable of finding evidence of current and previous defects or damage and to discover any weak, inadequate or wrongly applied materials or installations applicable to this kind of craft. The craft will have to be slipped or ‘hauled ashore’ for the survey inspection. Some surveyors will waive an underwater inspection if the owner won’t haul the vessel claiming it was only up on the hard last month….not good! No disclaimer on earth can shore up the fact that the bottom is potentially the most costly, difficult and likely the most dangerous part of the craft. It is unlikely you would get insurance cover anyway. The good surveyor will be present at the lift-out, watching in particular for bending, sagging, hogging and other portents of weakness. This is also, one might add, the perfect place for a surveyor and his camera to be in case of any subsequent damage resulting from the lift. Once cradled and out, the surveyor will wait for the water blast to end (essential to have a clean pair of hulls) and the walk around will begin.
WHAT’S HE LOOKING FOR?
He will observe from all points near and far, on the lookout for bumps, sags, hollows, bulges, delamination, ‘dog’s ribbing’ of the frames and unfairness. Any areas found to be suspect will be marked with chalk for closer internal inspection later. Next, the hulls are hammered or ‘sounded’ with a light mallet. The surveyor will note any areas that sound dull or flat, notes rib areas and bulkheads and generally inspects for hull soundness. Once again, suspect areas are chalked. Once the hulls and general symmetry are noted, a closer examination of stern drives, props, shafts, anodes, sensors, rudders, pintles, bearing wear and intake protection is undertaken. The signs of underwater electrolytic actions are noted, props sounded and the hull/deck joins inspected for damage. This is a good time to check for previous repairs and any joint or stress cracks in the general bridge deck areas.
After the underwater sections of the inspection is completed, more work is embarked upon. No square inch of any top deck and internal area is left un-inspected for signs of heavy use. Floors come up, engine compartments and the all important bulkhead and crossbeam inner and outer hull areas. All deck gear, winches, runners, deck blocks, halyards and mast bases are inspected minutely, even with a jewellers eyepiece if required. There’s not a lot of visual difference between a crack and a spider’s web thread. Some two or three hours after commencement, the inspection would have been extremely thorough if the surveyor knows what he is about. Even then, if it is required, the sea trial report is to be included and a full report of rig behaviour and sails and engines under load, in forward and reverse and safe steering capabilities are then tested and noted.
WHAT COMES NEXT?
The hard part now comes for the surveyor. The paperwork has to be done! Basically, everything has to be analysed and committed to paper. The ship’s documentation has to be checked. Registration, title documents, import registration receipts. Ships’ inventory, items that will be staying on board and items that will be taken off. All safety equipment and gas safety documentation and various other documents that relate to the ship’s business are checked if applicable. Licensing and survey certificates need verifying and checking. Once this is all done, the surveyor can (depending if the scope of the survey requires it) employ shipwrights, riggers and technicians to work on one of the many areas of the craft and under instructions from the owner. Also, if the brief requires, the surveyor may or may not make return visits to inspect any work carried out on the boat and sign off any work carried out and re-inspect survey licences and certificates of compliance.
It should be fairly clear by now just how much needs to be carried out on what first appears to be a ‘quick look round’. No such thing. When your survey report is delivered to the door you may now realize that there is much more to it than meets the eye. Your surveyor will know this craft very well indeed by now and he will pass on those diagnostic findings, reports and conclusion to you, the client for what is usually a very reasonable fee. His years of experience and knowledge will be your eyes and ears in the tricky business of buying a boat. When your boat is signed off as ‘Insurable and seaworthy’ you can be assured that every item and aspect of the inspection will have been thoroughly investigated by a competent, licensed and experienced professional and that no nasty surprises are ahead! When you realise that it’s not just the hundreds of dollars you spend on a survey, but the potential thousands you could lose, things don’t seem so bad.
To find out more information go to www.dolphinboatplans.com/surveys/ [http://www.dolphinboatplans.com/surveys/]
Source by Terry Buddell
There may be different meanings for living off the grid for different people. But for me and my colleagues, living off the grid means producing enough green energy on your own, that you can provide power for your entire house without any help from the electrical company. That is living off the grid. The grid is like the power grid that you live on. Certain areas will be using the same grid of electricity that the electrical companies provide. An example is when the power goes out from someone hitting a telephone poll. A whole section of your neighborhood's power will go out. That is because they are on the same grid.
I have had people ask me if living off the grid meant moving far away from society. And no that is not the case. Well that is one way to do it, but what we are teaching is that you can stay in your home, and still get off the grid.
Once your start researching DIY projects and green energy, you will be amazed of what you can do. You can build solar panels and wind turbines to produce energy and power your house. You can build your own water heaters. The list lasts with what you can do. That is why it is so realistic that you can live off the grid, without spending a fortune to do so either.
Solar panels for example. If you wanted to build them yourself, you can for under 200 dollars. How cool is that? All you have to do is have some basic tools, sometimes buy some of the materials, and give some of your time to build a solar panel. And the materials you may already have, or can pick up free somewhere. The only thing that you probably will not have access to is solar cells. But you can easily buy them online for a decent price. Like I said, all of this comes to under 200 dollars if you be creative. The most expensive thing that you will have to give is your time. If your handy you can easily do this in a weekend, if not, it may take a couple weekends.
Living off the grid will not only provide a motive for other people to do the same, it will save you thousands of dollars each year, depending on what your current bill is, and you will also be doing the environment a favor as well. It's a win-win for everyone. Well everyone except maybe the electrical company!
Source by Adam KB